Archive for the 'Mammals' Category

13
Nov
17

Urban Myth

It’s said that we are all no more than 10 metres from a rat. It is in fact an urban myth … however this Carrion Crow found one the other day. The thing that attracted me was the noise. I just got the shot off before the hapless rodent got carried away kicking and screaming.

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01
Nov
17

Seeing Red?

The Tresco estate on the Isles of Scilly have taken it upon themselves to introduce Red Squirrel onto the island. When we were down there in October we sat in the garden cafe and there were several that entertained us as we fought to keep the House Sparrows from our lunch.

Red Squirrels are endearing little mammals that do make me chuckle as they bound from place to place punctuating their leaps with static pauses; as if they are surprised their surroundings changed when they moved!

28
Oct
17

A Change

Change is inevitable. Nothing stops the same. Places change, people change, relationships change and time changes. The time had come for me to move on. I have left Falcon Cottage and have settled into a place at West Runton. I’m sorry to leave the comforting old house and the garden that has attracted so many rare birds; but time moves forward. My new flat a little ways along the coast at West Runton will serve its purpose well for the business. Thanks are due to very good friends Paul and Tony for the help they gave with the move on Monday and a select few others that have given, and continue to give, their support.

West Runton is a place of rarities too and I hope to be able to give the place the time it deserves to find a few. This is my new back garden.

24
Oct
17

Rut

The Fallow Deer rut is well under way. The stags are full of high energy testosterone. This one was squaring up to another and pawing the ground in anger. He even donned some ceremonial headdress … or maybe he thought if he wore a few weeds we couldn’t see him?

21
Sep
17

Looking for Whales and finding butterflies

It’s not every day you get a message stating there’s a whale 14 miles inland. From photos sent to me it was obviously a Minke Whale – maybe quite a young individual and obviously quite dead; although earlier in the day it had been seen alive. Oh what the hell, I needed a few photos of buildings in King’s Lynn to complement the chapter on whaling in the book I’m writing, so a trip to the other side of the county was on the cards anyway. So I might as well go and have a look at this whale in the Great River Ouse at the same time. Perhaps take a few measurements and maybe try and sex it for the records. To be honest I’ve enough on at the moment but it was an opportunity to have a break.

When I got to Downham Market there was no sign of the damn whale. I confirmed with a local chap exactly where it had been the previous evening. Tell me again … exactly how do you lose a whale?

Overnight there had been a hell of a south westerly blowing, it even woke me up it was that loud. Combined with a high tide the wind had obviously dislodged the animal and it was floating free somewhere. The question was, upstream or downstream? The tide was running in and all floating objects were going upstream. However the strong wind had been pushing downstream overnight as had the tide. I decided to check both. I climbed in the car and ventured forth on rolling fen roads for mile after mile. The thing is, fen roads are built on a peat subsoil that absorbs and loses water through the season; so the ground ends up swelling and shrinking. It rises and falls like a bride’s nightgown. You end up travelling on tarmac something akin to the world’s longest fair ride. Anyways, I checked the length of the river from bridge after bridge between Denver sluice and Kings Lynn – nada, nothing, nil! All I found were a swift, which clipped my ear as it flew southwards against the still strong wind, and a Common Seal which was almost as lost as the whale. It stared at me with one of those sorrowful big eyed looks and I’m sure it shrugged its shoulders and raised its eyebrows at one point.

For my troubles I got a good chastising from an Anglian Water worker for parking in a gateway but even that was preferable to the bull which headed at a not inconsiderable pace in my direction causing me to beat a hasty retreat. Next time I see a sign saying ‘Bull with Cows in Field’ I might take more notice.

However, as I was packing up and heading for my photographic foray in Kings Lynn I spotted something small in the grass. It wasn’t a whale. It was a blue butterfly. A Common Blue. Not that unusual sure, but a very contrasty Common Blue. A late one too.

Forever looking for whales and finding butterflies.

 

15
Sep
17

Camouflaged

Some creatures can be right before your eyes … but can take some finding. I was thinking back this week to January … the 15th to be exact. A memorable wonderful day of new things. As I walked on the isolated island of Magdalena, off Punto Arenas in southern Chile, I passed a shoreline of stones. The Magallenic Penguins were perhaps the highlight, or maybe the Sei Whales or the Commerson’s Dolphins we saw on the return ferry journey. However, hidden among the rocks were Rufous chested Dotterels. Simply unseen until seen. So many highlights to mention … in such a wonderful place.

10
Sep
17

Beautiful

We saw this Chinese Water Deer on tour last weekend. A small alien from the other side of the world but no less beautiful for that.

 




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